Natural selection does not justify war

I wrote last week about this country’s hottest trend, post-Sept. 11 bandwagon patriotism, and how I thought it was important for people to step back and thoroughly analyze America’s history before expressing their unwavering American pride.

I talked about the treatment of Native Americans and blacks, and how our reprehensible behavior hundreds of years ago still haunts both of those groups today.

I talked about our forefathers, who can also be perceived as terrorists and traitors, depending on which side of the pond you hail from.

I talked about our bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the only time in history a country has used a nuclear weapon.

I talked about the general nature of America’s imperialistic ways, our troops all over the world, our air force bases where people don’t want them, and our blind and constant support for Israel.

And the responses I received made me think.

Genocide, imperialism and slavery have been part of every major civilization ever, people wrote. This is absolutely a valid point. From a logical perspective, that is.

And that is what we humans do, right? It’s what makes us special. We think, we reason, we rationalize.

The war in Iraq, which this paper has taken a hard stance against on its editorial pages, is nothing more than natural selection, survival of the fittest. Liberal oppositionists have been wrong all along. Stop the presses. This war is just. Charles Darwin says so.

OK, backtrack.

It is true. Humans were conquering other humans long before the George W. Bush administration. But if we’re going to play the Darwin card to justify America’s dark past and its questionable present, let’s not cheat.

Evolutionary theory has man’s brain growing in size. And as man’s brain size increased, so did his ability to think intellectually. This led to the development of new tools and technologies and societies and social structures and governments. It led to the founding of religions, ideas about gods, how we came to be on this planet and why we die.

And then, as globalization took hold of the planet and we realized many of our ideas were different, it led to conflict.

So here we are today. Still fighting, still preaching. And we aren’t alone in our arrogance by any means. Osama bin Laden has made it clear he would love to see a world ruled under the tenets of Islam. American missionaries, since the Sept. 11 attacks, have flocked to Muslim countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East in an attempt to turn their cultures toward Christianity.

But as the world’s largest superpower, isn’t it about time we evolved? Isn’t it time we realize that, yes, natural selection is real, and, yes, sooner or later it will kill us, too?

Are not our minds capable of thinking our way to peace? Do we not realize the ramifications of our actions? Isn’t time we realize that by fighting this war, we are shooting ourselves in the foot?

As we invade country after country, hatred around the world grows. It festers. It inspires. It compels. It’s forcing other countries, some who we don’t consider a threat to us now, to set their sights on us to ensure their own survival. And when that first nuke makes its way onto our soil and we launch back our counterattack, we could very well be looking at the end.

In the game of Darwinian theory, the strongest survive. That is, unless, they destroy themselves.

Simply said, natural selection should not override moral choice. Let’s hope it’s not too late. Let’s hope we are not too smart for our own good.

Ryan Meehan is a senior majoring in literature and The Oracle’s Editor in Chief.

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